Tag Archives: Matt Murray

Online Art Gallery #146

Colors abound this week.

Of course, there are the usual charcoal and pen-and-ink submissions too.

With a mix of works from regular contributors, and newcomers (and professionals and talented “amateurs”).

Every week is a new experience. But always: This is your feature. All readers are invited to contribute. Age, level of experience, subject matter — there are no restrictions.

All genres are encouraged. Watercolors, oils, charcoal, pen-and-ink, acrylics, lithographs, collages, macramé, jewelry, sculpture, decoupage and (yes) needlepoint — whatever you’ve got, email it to 06880blog@gmail.com. Share your work with the world!

“Manhattan as Seen From Hunter’s Point” (Warren Jahn)

“Four Fish” — one image, several views; oil paint, photography, colored ink (Peter Barlow)

“My Arthritic Left Hand” (Lawrence Weisman)

Needlepoint (Lucy Johnson)

“Neurographic Art” (Amy Schneider)

“Early Years of a Foodie. ‘Is This Where Bacon Comes From?’ (Mike Hibbard)

“Il Duomo – The Town’s Big Church!” (Steve Stein)

Untitled (Matt Murray)

Photographer John Richers explains: “This covered bridge/tunnel connects the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport to the JetBlue terminal. The hotel is very cool. The mid-century architecture is fabulous, and it is appointed with all circa-1962 furnishings.”

(If you enjoy our Saturday art galleries, please consider a museum-style contribution. Click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Crosswalks, Branches, Lanternflies …

Connecticut’s Department of Transportation begins work next year on several local crosswalks — including the notorious “worst intersection in the state” (Routes 1 and 33, aka Post Road West, Riverside Avenue and Wilton Road).

The DOT will also work on:

  • Route 33 (Wilton Road) at Merritt Parkway Connector and Spring Hill Road
  • Route 57 (Weston Road) at Broad Street and Good Hill Road (Weston)
  • Route 33 (Saugatuck Avenue) at I-95 southbound ramps
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Playhouse Square Shopping Center
  • Route 1 (Post Road West) at Sylvan Road
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Turkey Hill Roads North and South
  • Sherwood Island Connector at Greens Farms Road and Post Road East.

The good news: Upgrades include countdown pedestrian indicators, accessible pedestrian push buttons, and “concurrent pedestrian phasing.”

The bad news: There are no actual traffic, sightline or other improvements.

The timetable: Design plans are expected to be completed in February, with advertising for construction in April.

So don’t expect to cross at the green quite yet.

Upgrades (of a sort) are coming here (“soon”).

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Speaking of the Post Road: Pam Kesselman sends along this photo of dead branches towering over Compo Road South, near the Route 1 intersection:

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

She worries that they could fall on a driver or pedestrian, and hopes the town takes notice.

Tree maintenance there is (I believe) the responsibility of the state (state roads) or the owner of Compo Acres Shopping Center.

At any rate, Pam is not the first “06880” reader to have noticed these dead branches recently.

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Last week, when Y’s Men acting gardening chair Chuck Greenlee learned that a spotted lanternfly was spotted at the Westport Community Gardens, he did 2 things.

He sent a photo to “06880”:

Spotted lanternfly (Photo/JP Montillier)

And he reported it to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station (reportSLF@ct.gov).

They quickly replied: “Thank you for your inquiry concerning spotted lanternfly. The insect you have photographed is indeed a SLF. Your town is already known to be infested. For tips on dealing with SLF, please click here. Should you find any more insects, please kill them immediately with any means at your disposal. Thank you again for your interest.”

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Speaking of the environment: Tickets are on sale now for Earthplace’s famed Woodside Bash fundraiser. It’s October 1 (7 p.m.), under the stars and beside a firepit.

Though it’s adults-only, kids are welcome the following day (October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for the also-annual Fall Festival. Earthplace buzzes with a corn pool, obstacle course, climbing wall, food trucks and more. Click here for tickets.

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Last week’s story on Ed Capasse’s star turn as a Staples High School marching band member/Saturday Evening Post cover model cast a new light on Stevan Dohanos’ famous 1946 painting.

Ed Capasse is in the upper left.

It used to be sold at the Westport Historical Society. Now it’s available only online.

But — as former Westporter/longtime Oregonian/avid “06880” reader Robert Gerrity discovered — there are plenty of places to purchase it. Among them:

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Speaking of posters: Yesterday’s music memories from Woodstock — the “lotta freaks!” festival that ended 53 years ago (!) today — brought an email from longtime Westporter Matt Murray.

Plus this photo:

Matt explains:

“This is an original. I worked for the guys who started and funded the concert (Joel Roseman and the late John Roberts). They were partners in the NYC recording studio, Mediasound.

“I was an assistant engineer and gopher (go for this, go for that). Another guy and I saw a stack of these in their office. We asked if we could have a few. Sure!

“Still have ’em, 47 years later.”

Matt adds: “For the studio’s Christmas party, leftover Woodstock tickets were used as bar chits. Being youthful, I used mine for drinks. The bartender tore them in half. A fellow worker thought better of that idea, and hung on to his tickets. Smart person.”

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Today’s Entitled Parking post comes from already-narrow Railroad Place:

(Photo/Karen Kramer)

No, that’s not a parking space. And it never was, even back in the day when that very cool Camaro rolled off the line.

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August is usually a very green month in Westport (though the summer-long lack of rain makes it a bit browner than usual).

Soon, we’ll be awash in a gorgeous palette of leaf-changing colors.

Meanwhile, there’s this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” display, spotted by Fred Cantor on Hillspoint Road:

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … August 17, 1969 marked the final day of Woodstock. Among the performers then:

Crosby Stills Nash & Young played that day too. This song later became an anthem for the event:

Frontier Justice

Matt Murray grew up in Weston. He’s been a Westporter for 34 years. 

But now he’s cut the cord. Well, the telephone card, anyway. He writes:

For the first time in my life I do not have a landline.

My family started with CA 7-6278 (Capitol 7-6278).

I’ve had a Westport landline since moving here in 1988. It was installed by the late, great SNET (Southern New England Telephone, for newcomers).

SNET and its employees were good. Through various mergers and purchases (AT&T, SBC), the service declined as rates went up (no surprise). But we hung on to the landline (known as POTS = Plain Old Telephone Service). We liked the reliability (more on that). For a time, a fax connection was nice to have.

As the years went on we did not need a fax. But we kept the landline. It was useful when the power went out, during or after bad weather.

Recently, when friends, family and neighbors tried Frontier after getting an incentive or “deal” to switch, they went back to their prior carrier within 30 to 60 days. They said Frontier was so bad: technical, customer service, etc..

We retained the landline for “local” calling and friends far away. Loyalty was expensive, but the landline was reliable.

Up until last week.

As I headed to bed Tuesday night I saw a flashing light on our various phones. I picked one up. There was no dial tone.

I checked the other phones: same thing. I did some troubleshooting, but could tell I would not resolve it at that point.

The next day, I went online and tried more troubleshooting actions. I even went out to the NID (Network Interface Device) on the side of the house to review connections.

A chat with tech support confirmed there was an outage in our area. It was frustrating, but it prompted me to look at my bill.

My service was a “Digital Premium Plan.“ There is nothing “digital” about my landline service. I found this a bit misleading. It added to my annoyance with Frontier. The service rep said they had no estimate of when the outage would be repaired or resolved.

Reliability of a landline no longer existed. I kept getting texts saying the outage had not been fixed, and they still had no idea when it would be.

All this was the final straw. On Friday I called to cancel the service (an action that cannot be performed online).

The person attempted to appease me with a free month. After a decade of paying too much for the landline — um, no.

She offered to “hold the number” so it could be used elsewhere (“you’ve had that number since 1982.” No, it was 1988.).

She offered to have it forward to my mobile. Again, no thank you.

I realized I would no longer receive spam calls, or political robo calls. I started to like that concept a lot.

No, a Cablevision/Altice phone is no better than Frontier or my mobile.

And no, I will not be a happy camper when we lose power. I hope I can text Eversource or the Westport PD when something happens.

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But that’s not all the Frontier news today.

Longtime resident Bob Weingarten is the house historian and plaque coordinator for the Westport Museum for History & Culture.  He is also very interested in, and has written dozens of articles and stories about, the environment, recycling, solar energy and social issues.

Additionally, he’s a frustrated Frontier customer. Bob writes:

In 2020 “06880” posted a story about “Dangerous Cables” of phone and video companies in Westport. But it did not mention any service issues.

I’ve had a phone problem with Frontier, For over 5 years, whenever there’s a severe rainstorm our service in Greens Farms has failed. A repair lineman always comes within a few days. We’ve been told the issue is that circuits from the pole to the house are wet and limited, so switching to an available one was not possible. Frontier had to place new cables to the service pole nearest our house.

This occurred again February 8. The line went dead. I called Frontier. They scheduled repairs for the next day, and asked me to be home.

There are more utility cables today than ever before. (Photo/Morgan Mermagen)

 

No one showed up or called. Instead I got this message on my cell:

We are aware of the outage affecting your service.  We’re working quickly to repair the outage and we’ll let you know when it’s resolved.  To check the status of your network, download the myFrontier Mobile app.

I called, but Frontier would not commit to a new appointment. I received the same message from Frontier for days. I kept calling, but nothing happened.

I missed landline calls from doctors, family members and friends etc. They emailed and called my cell, wondering what was happening.

Daily messages from Frontier kept coming. I kept calling. On February 15 I insisted on speaking to a supervisor. I waited more than an hour on the phone. Finally a supervisor was “available.”

I told him there was no other outage in my area, and I hadn’t seen any Frontier personnel trying to fix a problem. I also asked for a local repair number. He said none was available. He put me on hold, then repeated the same status.

Within an hour, my phone service was fixed. Perhaps talking to the supervisor worked!

PS: Around the block, I saw an open phone circuit box, It may not have had anything to do with my repair, but it should not be exposed.

Frontier’s open box. (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

 

 

Down By The Old Mill Fog

(Photo/Matt Murray)

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Click on or hover over this gorgeous photo to enlarge.

Happy Earth Day!

After a gorgeous start, Westport’s skies turned menacing this afternoon.

Alert “06880” reader Matt Murray was at Compo Beach, just before a brief but gusty storm rolled in.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Driving Back In Time With The SCCA

Matt Murray is a 28-year member of the Sports Car Club of AmericaSo he knows 2014 is its 70th anniversary of the enormous auto racing organization.

He also knows it started in Westport.

Digging into its history, he found the location may have been 1276 Post Road East. That’s near the Turkey Hill South corner — near where the Big & Tall Men’s Shop is. (I’ve never been there.) (Go figure.)

Matt thinks it might have been a bit further east though — perhaps where La Normandie restaurant sat in the late 1950s and early ’60s. (Later, among other names, a restaurant called Beethoven.) (Now, among other places, Fast Fitness.)

Inside La Normandie restaurant. (Photo courtesy of CardCow.com)

Inside La Normandie restaurant. (Photo courtesy of CardCow.com)

Matt would love to hear any stories, and find photos, about the SCCA’s time in Westport. If you have info on the SCCA/Westport connection, click “Comments.” 

One thing Matt already knows: a Westport auto racer was an SCCA member for over 30 years. Guy by the name of Paul Newman.